Introducing Jeff Mote, the drive time show co-host of Mike and Jeff on HBR 103.5 as well as GMoney's right wingman when he's not around. We recently caught up with him for an interview at our offices and here's your chance to get to know him:
Ghafla! Hi Jeff, tell us something about you and what it is that you do
JM: Hmm… about me, well...my name is Jeff Mote, I’m a person who loves to have fun, and fortunately I have a boss who’s willing to pay me to do that... and that’s why I’m in radio. (grins)
Ghafla! Cool, so what’s an ordinary day like for you? What does your schedule include?
JM: Usually, on normal occasions, I hold a drive time show that begins at 4.00pm in the evening. Usually I wake up at 7.00am and I’m out of the house by 8.00am. Then I have some meetings; I also do abit of voice overs…some recordings and that will probably take me up until 1.00pm and I’m in the office after that at 2.00pm preparing. At 4.00pm we’re on air till 7.00pm. It’s a three hour show…after the madness which is ignition, there could be an event we’re going for. If not, then I head straight to the house, exhausted like a mofo.
Ghafla! Woah, thats a lot on your plate for a day! Well, what's your target audience for Iginition then?
JM: We could say 18-28 year olds, around there. But it’s not limited because we get 35 year olds or either young people who’ve just finished high school or people on their first jobs.
Ghafla! Are there any (other) radio shows you admire in the industry?
JM: Locally, I think Maina’s show was revolutionary. He started talking about things most people only would (talk about) in bars. People think he got to where he was like 3 years ago, but it’s been a long process. I think Maina as a host on the breakfast show he’s started chartered a whole new territory for the rest of us.
Ghafla! What do you think is your biggest competition in drive time radio listenership?
JM: When I’m not on the clock around our showtime, I find myself admittedly listening to Goteana on Ghetto Radio. Mbusih is just the funniest person ever. Every time we meet I’m like 'What the hell were you doing yesterday?' And he’s like 'You leave me alone, let me do me and you do you!'. And it‘s a laugh and a half. I think he’s a fun guy in person, and on air he’s just the same.
Ghafla! Interesting that you mentioned the Goteana show. What do you think Mbusih puts into his show that sets him apart?
JM: I think Mbusih is just Mbusih, there’s no format to it. He’s just the same guy…I think that’s what it is, he just does him.
Ghafla! Does being a radio personality make you more responsible (for your actions)?
JM: I think for anybody in the public eye, you have a responsibility because certain aspects of your life, whether you like it or not, are public property. You have to hold yourself up to a higher standard, because there are people who look up to you. If it’s something you treasure, you shouldn’t hold it as a task but something you would want to do.
Ghafla! We recently reported on Ghafla! how GMoney single handedly brought the reggae revolution back to Kenya...what do you think?
JM: I think that’s spot on. Its not that he really 'brought it back', it was always there, I think he repositioned it. I think there were very many ‘closeted’ reggae listeners, it’s just that the genre of music was perceived as being associated with hooliganism and marijuana and stabbings. It was just a rough place to be, that’s why people listened to it only in the confines of their home. He came through and just said it’s a lifestyle like any other. That’s I think the greatest thing he did. He introduced the positive nature of the culture.
Ghafla! Sticking to radio, what do you think is lacking (in the radio industry) here in Kenya?
JM: Actually I tend to think it’s a catch 22. 'Coz when you talk to people in the radio industry abroad , what I would say we’re lacking here is being abit more adventurous or doing things the medium of radio has never done before. But then when 'they' come over here, they think we’re doing it all and they're not. I think what's left for the local scene is to push the boundaries, and I’m not saying talking about sex, that’s been done and dusted. How else do we add depth to the radio experience other than talking, advertising, playing music or birthday requests...
Ghafla! What is Kenya doing right?
JM: Kenyan radio deals with Kenyan issues…it’s not too much bubble gum. It’s actually something that affects what people are going through daily…the solution is something they can use in their lives. Its not like what Ryan Seacrest talks about: what Katy Perry is wearing for like 3 hours…they all listen to that and they love it, but after that, how does it help? Kenyan radio is about real issues.
Ghafla! Could you take us through anything that goes on behind the scenes on your show?
JM: We put our feet up and tweet (laughs) Seriously...there’s a lot of preparation that goes on before the show, and even during. Loads of editing or running up and down making sure things are scheduled for that hour. Probably there are some things I cannot divulge… But in essence, I may speak for like 4 minutes and there’s a lot of stuff that goes into that…and its what people don’t understand.
Ghafla! Talk to us about the HB rebranding
JM: In any business or relationship, you need a partner who shares in your vision. HB were in the process of getting a partner …someone who knew what they wanted and shared in the same vision. They got the 103.5 frequency and we’re moving forward.
Ghafla! We're wondering, why did HB choose to go pink?
JM: I think pink is the new black and its sexy, don’t you think?
Ghafla! Who's your favourite local artiste?
JM: Any time I’ll hear Collo, he never disappoints…that short guy really comes through. He also makes it clear its not a game…he really works on his craft. He goes in 110%, he doesn’t leave anything to chance. For male artistes I would say Collo takes it. As for female artistes, she’s new, she’s doing her thing, getting the limelight…It's Extatic; she sings, raps, she’s the future…watch that space.
Ghafla! You’ve come a long way, any tips for those wanting to get into the industry?
As cliché as it sounds, you've got to knock on those doors! It might seem like its easy…it’s NOT! You must get used to some rejection, but at times those are the things that it takes to get the attention of the people who can make stuff happen. If you’re there for the right reasons, it comes true… Even if its a talent you want to bring out... You never get tired of trying to get your foot in.
Ghafla! Clearly you love what you do. So what are you upto when you're not working?
I like to go out…find out whats happening, hang out with people. I also hit the gym a lot, I’m working on my physique, this Thor physique (laughs) And I love travelling. If I’m not working on the weekend, I love to travel out of Nairobi. You know you see a Safaricom advert and you’re like Is that Kenya? It’s all here! Go out there and see it.
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Ghafla! What was your best Moment on radio?
JM: Definitely it would be my first show…no amount of preparation can get you ready for that. Its like your first time, you know what I mean…you just have to be there. There was another time we were talking about the launch of a Swahili show and I had to play Devil’s advocate saying it would really suck and that Kenyans wouldn’t watch it…Kenyans really stepped up, bit back and were passionate about that, fighting for what they felt was theres. Jua Cali even called in! I love that… I think when you get people that emotive about a particular subject, then your job is done. It’s a wrap.
Ghafla! What was your most challenging moment?
JM: Every day has its challenges and especially if you’re not up to it. You have to be in character…that’s the nature of your job…You know at times you’ve had a bad day and you have to sum up your energy to do what has to be done. The show must go on…those are the longest times of your life.
That and also the time just before the Post -Election violence when the minister at the time Michuki banned all live broadcasts. It was a Sunday evening…that was my show and we had no idea what that meant…nobody knew anything coz that had never been done before. He made it sound like a seatbelt issue! It was a tricky and challenging time for me during that period
Ghafla! Final question, in 5 years time what will you be upto?
In 5 years I would want to farm…yeah…it’s very therapeutic actually. I’d be a farmer in Nyandarua county. I won’t tell you whatever I will be planting but be sure whatever it is will be headed to the Netherlands.